Precidia Technologies and CHECKS Partner

Ottawa-based Precidia Technologies has launched a new IP based instant check verification solution with Texas-based CHECKS. The solution leverages Precidia’s compact, low cost “iPocket232” to connect “Trans330” payment terminals and MagTek check readers to an existing broadband network, sending check data to the CHECKS host, which delivers a verification response code in under a second. While handling the verification process, the “iPocket232” also simultaneously powers the payment terminal, eliminating the need for additional power adapters to run both devices, preserving valuable store real estate at the check out counter. The solution is already deployed in Toot’n Totum convenience stores and Food Basket grocery in Texas, USA. Precidia Technologies has customers in more than 75 countries.

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IRS Renews and Expands OPC Services

The IRS has exercised the third of four optional one-year contract renewals with CT-based Official Payments. With this contract renewal, the IRS has expanded the tax types eligible for credit card payment to include business taxes. The contract renewal also authorizes OPC to continue collecting and processing individual federal income tax payments made using a VISA, American Express, Discover or MasterCard. Additionally, the IRS has newly authorized Official Payments to accept federal individual Advanced Payment of Determined Deficiency payments for tax years 2003 through 2005 beginning in 2006. Continuing with an enhancement effective with the 2005 filing season that expanded the number of tax years for which past due payments may be accepted, on January 1st, OPC will begin accepting Prior Tax Years’ payments for 1996 through 2004, and Installment Agreement payments for tax years 1996 through 2005. OPC has been processing individual federal income tax credit card payments for the IRS since 1999.

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SiVault Systems and Hypercom Team

SiVault Systems and Hypercom have combined “SiPay” and “SiPay Mobile” signature authentication and transaction storage services on Hypercom’s “Optimum L4100” multi-lane signature capture card payment terminals to help retailers reduce credit card fraud, identity theft and the cost of researching payment disputes. It will also help prevent up to $70 billion of the $1.4 trillion health care cost for Americans that has been attributed to fraud. SiVault Systems offers secure storage and retrieval of signed documents and biometric signature-based authentication for processing of online transactions. Hypercom provides global payment technology.

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JALCARD Deploys MicroStrategy Platform

JALCARD has deployed the MicroStrategy “Business Intelligence Platform” to enhance service to its approximately 1.35 million
customers. JALCARD will use MicroStrategy for customer analysis applications such as customer segmentation and customer behavior and purchase analysis, which will enable JALCARD to enhance current services and offer targeted new services to customers. In addition to offering mileage to customers’ Japan Airlines “Mileage Bank” accounts, JALCARD provides value-added offerings such as shopping, insurance and travel services. JALCARD offers credit cards in conjunction with VISA, MasterCard, JCB and Diners Club.

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Paymetric Names a Chief Financial Officer

Houston-based Paymetric has landed Dan Lensgraf, previously with St. Louis-based Xspedius Communications, as CFO. During his five years at Xspedius, Lensgraf oversaw the company’s financial operations and played a key role in acquisition and capital formation activities. Lensgraf earned an MBA from Duke University and a BBA in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Paymetric is a solution provider enabling clients using payment cards to integrate buying and selling functions directly into their ERP-enabled business operations.

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DoCoMo Delays Adding Payments Technology to Phones

NTT DoCoMo says it will delay adding e-payment technology to its less expensive “3G” mobile phones. However, the company will offer Sony’s “FeliCa” payment chip on higher priced phones. NTT DoCoMo says it might add the “FeliCa” payment chip to cheaper phones next year.
NTT DoCoMo recently acquired a 34% interest in Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company. The two firms recent launched a smart credit card, which can be used by a “FeliCa” mobile handset. Nakamura is also buying a stake in Sumitomo Mitsui Card to launch a credit card business with added services. The “FeliCa” chip will also be offered on Vodafone’s mobile phones later this year.

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Debit Outpaces Credit P-Transactions in Q1

For the first time in the industry’s history, VISA and MasterCard off-line debit card purchase transactions have outnumbered credit card purchase transactions. During the first quarter, VISA and MasterCard processed 3.132 billion signature debit card purchase transactions versus 2.974 billion credit card purchase transactions. Over the past twelve months debit card purchase transactions have grown 18.5% compared to 6.9% for credit card purchase transactions. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), VISA had 2.509 billion off-line debit card purchase transactions and 1.718 billion credit card purchase transactions in the first quarter. MasterCard had 622 million signature debit card purchase transactions and 1.257 billion credit card purchase transactions during the first quarter.

PURCHASE TRANSACTION HISTORICAL
(VISA & MASTERCARD – millions)
Debit* Credit
1Q/04: 2642.0 2782.3
2Q/04: 2857.8 3045.9
3Q/04: 2927.5 3150.8
4Q/04: 3136.5 3429.3
1Q/05: 3131.5 2974.3
* excludes PIN POS debit
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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MBNA to Issue CIT Business MasterCards

MBNA has signed an agreement to issue two cobranded business MasterCards with CIT Small Business Lending Corporation. Two types of accounts will be offered, the Business Credit Card Account with no annual fee and a fixed rate and Business Rewards Credit Card Account with travel/merchandise reward enhancement for a $35 annual fee, along with a fixed rate. MBNA Corporation is an international financial services company with $116.6 billion in managed loans. CIT Group Inc.is a leading commercial and consumer finance company with nearly $60 billion in assets.

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Citi to Acquire Federated’s Card Portfolios

Citigroup has inked a deal to acquire $6.6 billion in credit card outstandings from Federated Department Stores for a premium of approximately 11.5%. Under terms of the agreement, Citi will initially acquire Federated’s $3.2 billion owned proprietary and VISA receivables, then in April 2006 acquire $1.2 billion in Federated card receivables currently owned by GECC and finally acquire the $2.2 billion credit card receivables portfolio of May Department Stores within one year following the merger with Federated, which is expected to close in 3Q/05. Additionally, Federated and Citigroup have signed a multi-year agreement for performance payments after the receivables sale is completed as well as engage in various joint marketing initiatives. The Federated and May credit card portfolios have about 17 million active accounts. The companies noted that Federated and May credit card customers will continue to be serviced through Federated’s service centers located in Mason, OH, Clearwater, FL and Tempe, AZ and May’s service centers in Lorain, OH and Earth City, MO. Federated was advised in the transactions by Credit Suisse First Boston, First Annapolis Consulting, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Jones Day and Sidley Austin Brown & Wood. At the end of the first quarter, Citigroup had $24.7 billion in private label credit card outstandings and $115.8 billion in bank credit card outstandings, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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HSBC North America Names a Marketing Head

HSBC North America has hired Brian Hughes, formerly with Booz Allen Hamilton, as national director of marketing for HSBC’s retail services business. Hughes will be responsible for the strategy, execution and measurement of marketing programs to support merchant business growth. Prior to joining HSBC in 2004, Hughes worked primarily in strategy consulting and was a principal with Booz Allen Hamilton, developing marketing and growth strategies. HSBC – North America has more than $300 billion in assets and serves more than 60 million customers.

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